Significant Shift in Practice of the Serbian Intellectual Property Office

Powerlifting: Is Copyright stronger than Trademarks?

The story starts rather simply. Guangdong Puss Investment Co., Ltd. from China filed a trademark application for the NOME logo, in Serbia. Serbia applies a “first-to-file” system in terms of the trademark registration. There had not been prior similar trademarks, and the registration went smoothly.

However, Guangzhou Renren Management Consulting Co., also from China, filed an invalidation action against this trademark. The legal basis was prior copyright being registered in China – triple black and blue NOME logo. This is where it gets interesting. The Serbian Intellectual Property Office has never by itself, at least as far as we are aware, invalidated a trademark based on copyright. In similar cases, the examiners have always referred cases involving copyright to the courts.

In the NOME case, the Intellectual Property Office decided to accept the copyright registration certificate issued in China. By doing this, it solved the preliminary issue by itself. It made a step forward in efficiency that will affect all future cases where two colliding rights are confronted.